Union Membership Byte 2021 – Center for Economic and Policy Research

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Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Dean Baker, Sarah Rawlins, Karen Conner, Aiden Lee, Simran Kalkat, and Matthew Sedlar for their assistance.

Overview

The overall union membership rate increased by half a percentage point in 2020, rising to 10.8 percent of all employed (Table 1). This represents the largest year-over-year gain since directly comparable data became available in the early 1980s. However, the number of union members declined by 321,000 in 2020 (Table 2), amid heavy job losses throughout the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. The increase in union density reflects the fact that the percent decline in the number of employed was over three times larger for nonunion workers than for union members. A similar dynamic was observed in 2007 and 2008, following the financial crisis. 

The union coverage rate increased by the same amount as the membership rate in 2020. The former grew to 12.1 percent, though the number of workers covered by a union contract fell by 444,000. Private sector unionization followed a similar pattern, albeit with a much more modest (0.1 percentage points to 6.3 percent) rise in the membership rate. This rate increase was accompanied by a loss of 428,000 private sector union members. By contrast, both the share and number of union members grew substantially in the public sector in 2020 (Figure 1). The former increased by 1.2 percentage points to 34.8 percent, while the latter grew by 107,000 workers. These gains are especially remarkable given concerted efforts in recent years to erode public sector collective bargaining. 

Other notable highlights include:

  • Public sector unionization increased at all levels of government: federal, state, and local.

  • The gender gap continued to narrow in 2020. It is now only half a percentage point, down from ten percentage points in the early 1980s. 

  • Both the share and the number of union members increased among Black and Hispanic workers, reflecting a long-term trend toward increased racial and ethnic diversity in the labor movement.

  • The historically highly unionized manufacturing industry saw a dip in the union membership rate, though it remains above the private sector average. 

  • The state with the largest increase in the public sector unionization rate was Connecticut, which also had the second largest overall rate increase.  

  • Nevada, once hailed as a state where labor unions had flourished in spite of right-to-work laws, experienced the largest statewide decline in the private sector union membership rate.

Table 1: Union Membership and Coverage Rates, 2019-2020
(percent of employees)
  Membership   Coverage
  2019 2020 Change   2019 2020 Change
               
All 10.3 10.8 0.5   11.6 12.1 0.5
Public sector 33.6 34.8 1.2   37.2 38.4 1.2
Private sector 6.2 6.3 0.1   7.1 7.2 0.1
               
Gender              
Women 9.7 10.5 0.8   11.0 11.8 0.8
Men 10.8 11.0 0.2   12.1 12.3 0.2
               
Race or ethnicity              
White 10.3 10.7 0.4   11.5 12.0 0.5
Black 11.2 12.3 1.1   12.7 13.9 1.2
Hispanic 8.9 9.8 0.9   10.2 11.0 0.8
Asian 8.8 8.9 0.1   10.0 10.0 0.0
               
Age              
16-24 4.4 4.4 0.0   5.2 5.2 0.0
25-34 8.8 9.8 1.0   10.3 11.0 0.7
35-44 11.8 12.2 0.4   13.1 13.5 0.4
45-54 12.6 13.2 0.6   13.9 14.7 0.8
55-64 12.7 13.0 0.3   14.1 14.5 0.4
65 or over 9.7 9.0 -0.7   10.9 10.1 -0.8
               
Education*              
Less than high school 5.3 5.4 0.2   6.2 6.2 0.0
High school 9.6 10.0 0.4   10.7 11.0 0.4
Some college 10.2 11.0 0.8   11.2 12.0 0.7
College 9.9 10.0 0.1   11.3 11.6 0.3
Advanced Degree 15.3 15.5 0.2   17.5 17.6 0.1
               
Nativity*              
U.S. born 10.7 11.2 0.5   12.0 12.5 0.5
Foreign born 8.3 8.8 0.6   9.4 10.0 0.6

Source: Data for all, public, private, gender, race/ethnicity and age, from Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021); * data for education and nativity from CEPR analysis of Current Population Survey Outgoing Rotation Group, for 2019–2020. Some differences in the third and sixth columns reflect rounding.

Table 2: Union Members and Workers Covered by a Union Contract, 2019-2020
(thousands of workers)
  Membership   Coverage
  2019 2020 Change   2019 2020 Change
               
All 14,574 14,253 -321   16,383 15,939 -444
Public sector 7,066 7,173 107   7,821 7,921 100
Private sector 7,508 7,080 -428   8,562 8,018 -544
               
Gender              
Women 6,624 6,672 48   7,538 7,507 -31
Men 7,950 7,582 -368   8,845 8,432 -413
               
Race or ethnicity              
White 11,208 10,944 -264   12,583 12,221 -362
Black 2,043 2,055 12   2,310 2,321 11
Hispanic 2,258 2,315 57   2,590 2,586 -4
Asian 817 766 -51   932 855 -77
               
Age              
16-24 827 741 -86   977 865 -112
25-34 2,973 3,071 98   3,464 3,455 -9
35-44 3,515 3,475 -40   3,906 3,836 -70
45-54 3,543 3,469 -74   3,918 3,868 -50
55-64 2,952 2,842 -110   3,266 3,175 -91
65 or over 764 656 -108   852 740 -112
               
Education*              
Less than high school 598 519 -79   702 592 -110
High school 3,541 3,331 -210   3,937 3,655 -282
Some college 3,998 3,919 -79   4,415 4,274 -140
College 3,419 3,397 -22   3,891 3,905 15
Advanced Degree 3,011 3,085 74   3,430 3,509 79
               
Nativity*              
U.S. born 12,554 12,331 -223   14,084 13,767 -317
Foreign born 2,012 1,919 -93   2,291 2,169 -122

Source: Data for all, public, private, gender, race/ethnicity and age, from Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021); * data for education and nativity from CEPR analysis of Current Population Survey Outgoing Rotation Group, for 2019–2020. Some differences in the third and sixth columns reflect rounding.

Figure 1

Demographic Trends

Union membership has diversified significantly over the last several decades. In 1989, nearly half of all union workers were white men; their share now sits at less than a third.

Growth in union membership was especially pronounced among women in 2020, and the gender gap in unionization narrowed for the third year in a row (Figure 2). The membership rate for women increased by 0.8 percentage points to 10.5 percent, and the number grew by 48,000. Men’s membership rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 11.0 percent, accompanied by a loss of over 368,000 members. The gender gap in union membership rates is now only half a percentage point, having shrunk from a whopping ten percentage points in 1983.

Figure 2

Black and Hispanic membership gains were also notable in 2020. (Figure 3). Black union membership grew by 1.1 percentage points to 12.3 percent, and increased by 12,000 workers. The unionization rate for Hispanics increased by 0.9 percentage points to 9.8 percent, and the number of members swelled by 57,000. The unionization rate for whites increased by 0.4 percentage points to 10.7 percent, but the number of members fell by 264,000. Similarly, the Asian union membership share increased by 0.1 percentage points to 8.9 percent, but the number of members declined by 51,000 members, respectively.

Figure 3

Union membership rates increased for all but the youngest and oldest age groups (Figure 4). The most pronounced upturn occurred among workers ages 25–34, rising by 1.0 percentage points to 9.8 percent. This group was also the only cohort that experienced growth in the number of members, swelling by 98,000 workers. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the pandemic, steep declines occurred among workers 65 and older. Their membership rate fell by 0.7 percentage points to 9 percent, alongside an exodus of 108,000 members in this age category. 

Figure 4

Union membership rates also increased across all education levels (Figure 5). Those with some college but no bachelor’s degree experienced the largest bump, and their membership rate rose 0.8 percentage points to 11.0 percent.  As measured by the number of union members, the steepest declines were among high school graduates, whose membership contracted by 210,000 workers. However, this group also experienced the second largest bump in membership rates, which rose by 0.4 percentage points to 10.0 percent. Those with advanced degrees were the only educational group in which the number of union members increased. Their membership grew by 74,000 workers, alongside a 0.2 percentage point increase in their membership share to 15.5 percent. 

Figure 5

Native-born workers remain more likely than foreign-born workers to be union members, and the gap between these groups remains little changed from 2019 (Figure 6). The rate of union membership grew for both foreign- and native-born workers, with the former’s increasing by 0.6 points to 8.8 percent, and the latter’s by 0.5 points to 11.2 percent. Membership totals, meanwhile, shrunk by 223,000 among the native.-born and 93,000 among the foreign-born.

Figure 6

Industry and Occupation Trends by Sector

Table 3 shows union membership by industry and sector. In the private sector, the most marked growth in membership rates occurred in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (up 1.6 percentage points), followed by educational services (up 1.2 percentage points). The most substantial private sector unionization rate declines were in non-internet broadcasting (down 3.4 percentage points); utilities (down 2.9 percentage points); and arts, entertainment, and recreation (down 1.8 percentage points). 

Nearly all private sector industries lost union members in 2020, though leisure and hospitality was hardest hit (down 161,000), followed by manufacturing (down 110,000). The number of union members grew in retail trade (up 57,000); mining quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (up 9,000); finance and insurance (also up 9,000); and transportation and warehousing (up 4,000).

The slight downtick in the manufacturing unionization rate is notable in a year when rates rose in so many other industries. The decline in 2020 was slight, and the union membership share in manufacturing is still above the private sector average. However, while manufacturing was historically a heavily unionized industry (Figure 7), it is clear that that is no longer the case.

Public sector union membership grew at every level in 2020. The most pronounced rate increase was in local government, where the union membership share grew by 2.3 percentage points to 41.7 percent. The unionization rate also increased at the federal and state levels, by 0.4 percentage points and 0.5 percentage points, respectively. Federal and state government each added 42,000 union members in 2020, while local government added 24,000.

Table 3: Union Membership By Detailed Industry and Sector, 2019-2020
  Membership Rate   Number of Members
  (percent of employees)   (thousands of employees)
  2019 2020 Change   2019 2020 Change
Private Sector 6.2 6.3 0.1   7,508 7,080 -428
    Agriculture & related industries 1.7 1.7 -0.1   23 21 -2
    Nonagricultural industries 6.3 6.4 0.1   7,485 7,059 -426
        Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas
           extraction
4.0 5.6 1.6   28 37 9
        Construction 12.6 12.7 0.0   1,055 993 -62
        Manufacturing 8.6 8.5 -0.1   1,291 1,181 -110
            Durable Goods 8.8 8.7 -0.2   835 754 -81
            Nondurable goods 8.2 8.2 0.0   455 427 -28
        Wholesale and retail trade 4.1 4.5 0.4   741 787 46
            Wholesale trade 4.5 4.3 -0.3   143 133 -10
            Retail Trade 4.0 4.6 0.6   598 655 57
        Transportation and utilities 17.3 17.6 0.4   1,166 1,135 -31
            Transportation and warehousing 16.1 17.0 0.9   912 916 4
            Utilities 23.4 20.6 -2.9   254 219 -35
        Information* 10.3 9.3 -1.0   242 200 -41
            Publishing, except internet 3.3 2.4 -0.9   12 8 -3
            Motion pictures and sound recording
                industries
13.6 14.0 0.4   53 40 -13
            Broadcasting (except internet) 11.0 7.6 -3.4   53 30 -23
            Telecommunications 14.1 14.3 0.2   115 111 -4
        Financial activities 1.9 1.9 -0.1   182 169 -13
            Finance and insurance 1.2 1.4 0.1   87 96 9
                Finance 1.1 1.2 0.1   49 53 4
                Insurance 1.4 1.7 0.3   37 43 6
            Real estate and rental and leasing 4.0 3.5 -0.6   95 74 -21
        Professional and business services 2.2 2.2 0.0   339 323 -16
            Professional and technical services 1.4 1.3 -0.1   143 132 -10
            Management, administrative, and waste services 3.6 4.0 0.4   197 191 -7
        Education and health services 8.0 8.4 0.5   1,885 1,876 -9
            Educational services 12.3 13.5 1.2   608 607 -1
            Health care and social assistance 6.8 7.1 0.3   1,278 1,269 -9
        Leisure and hospitality 2.9 2.2 -0.7   384 223 -161
            Arts, entertainment, and recreation 6.6 4.8 -1.8   164 86 -79
            Accommodation and food services 2.1 1.6 -0.5   220 137 -83
                Accommodation 6.5 5.7 -0.8   93 52 -41
                Food services and drinking places 1.4 1.2 -0.2   128 85 -43
        Other services* 2.8 2.5 -0.3   172 134 -38
            Other services, except private households 3.1 2.8 -0.3   163 130 -33
               
Public Sector 33.6 34.8 1.2   7,066 7,173 107
    Federal Government 25.6 26.0 0.4   974 1,014 40
    State Government 29.4 29.9 0.5   2,043 2,085 42
    Local Government 39.4 41.7 2.3   4,050 4,074 24

*Includes other industries, not shown separately.
Source: Data from Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021). Some differences in columns three and six reflect rounding.

Figure 7

Tables 4 and 5 show union membership by occupation and sector. The union membership share in public sector farming, fishing, and forestry occupations more than doubled in 2020, increasing by 14.3 percentage points to 24 percent (compared to 9.7 percent in 2019). Public sector unionization rates also rose in transportation and material moving occupations (up 3.7 percentage points), as well as in installation, maintenance, and repair occupations and production occupations (both up 2.7 percentage points). 

The number of union members increased in public sector health care support occupations (61,000), protective service occupations (50,000), and professional and related occupations (75,000). Within the latter, there was an especially notable increase in the number of union members in the education, training, and library occupations subcategory (up 22,000).  

Public sector membership shares fell most dramatically in personal care and service occupations (down 2.7 percentage points), and health care support occupations (down 2.2 percentage points). The former also experienced the biggest public sector contraction in members, losing 90,000 union workers.

Private sector union membership shares grew most in protective service occupations, up 2.3 percentage points to 9.5 percent. Within professional and related occupations, the unionization rate for those in education, training, and library occupations also increased by 2.1 percentage points to 14.2 percent. Private sector unionization rates fell most markedly in personal care and service occupations (down 1.2 percentage points), and office and administrative support occupations (down 0.6 percentage points). Office and administrative support occupations also lost the most union members (down 180,000) within private sector occupations. 

Table 4: Union Membership Rate By Occupation and Sector, 2019-2020
(percent of employees)
  Private Sector   Public Sector
  2019 2020 Change   2019 2020 Change
Management, business, and financial operations occupations 2.2 2.1 -0.1   19.8 19.6 -0.2
Professional and related occupations* 6.7 6.7 0.0   37.8 38.9 1.1
Community and social service occupations 5.3 4.8 -0.4   36.3 36.0 -0.3
Education, training, and library occupations 12.1 14.2 2.1   45.7 48.3 2.6
Healthcare practitioner and technical occupations 9.4 9.5 0.1   31.5 29.7 -1.8
Healthcare support occupations 6.1 6.2 0.0   25.2 23.0 -2.2
Protective service occupations 7.2 9.5 2.3   46.9 48.9 2.0
Food preparation and serving related occupations 2.7 2.4 -0.3   20.8 22.2 1.4
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations 5.5 6.2 0.7   29.3 31.5 2.3
Personal care and service occupations 3.4 2.2 -1.2   21.5 18.8 -2.7
Sales and related occupations 2.6 3.1 0.4   17.3 15.6 -1.8
Office and administrative support occupations 4.5 3.9 -0.6   30.6 31.8 1.3
Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations 1.8 2.0 0.2   9.7 24.0 14.3
Construction and extraction occupations 16.2 16.4 0.3   33.7 34.5 0.9
Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations 12.7 12.7 0.0   31.3 34.0 2.7
Production occupations 11.1 11.1 0.0   30.0 32.8 2.7
Transportation and material moving occupations 12.5 12.8 0.4   32.4 36.1 3.7

*Includes other occupation categories, not shown separately.
Source: Data from CEPR analysis of Current Population Survey Outgoing Rotation Group, 2019-2020. Some differences in columns three and six reflect rounding.

Table 5: Number of Union Members By Occupation and Sector, 2019-2020
(thousands of employees)
  Private Sector   Public Sector
  2019 2020 Change   2019 2020 Change
Management, business, and financial operations occupations 419 404 -16   535 558 22
Professional and related occupations* 1,672 1,629 -43   3,643 3,718 75
Community and social service occupations 92 82 -11   316 319 4
Education, training, and library occupations 418 444 26   2,637 2,658 22
Healthcare practitioner and technical occupations 765 757 -8   310 312 2
Healthcare support occupations 207 254 47   60 121 61
Protective service occupations 73 89 16   963 1,013 50
Food preparation and serving related occupations 218 148 -69   77 71 -6
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations 235 218 -17   197 177 -21
Personal care and service occupations 137 46 -91   127 37 -90
Sales and related occupations 350 366 16   26 23 -3
Office and administrative support occupations 656 476 -180   850 868 18
Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations 19 18 -1   3 6 4
Construction and extraction occupations 1,034 955 -79   158 150 -8
Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations 524 495 -29   115 124 9
Production occupations 895 783 -112   79 84 6
Transportation and material moving occupations 1,068 1,201 133   226 219 -7

*Includes other occupation categories, not shown separately.
Source: Data from CEPR analysis of Current Population Survey Outgoing Rotation Group, 2019-2020. Some differences in columns three and six reflect rounding.

Geographic Trends by Sector

Tables 6 and 7 and Figures 8, 9, and 10 show union membership by state and sector. In 2020, the largest share increases took place in Maine (up 2.9 percentage points), followed by Connecticut (up 2.6 percentage points), Minnesota (up 2.1 percentage points), and Oregon and Maryland (both up 1.8 percentage points). Texas added the most union members (66,000), followed by Pennsylvania (41,000), Minnesota (34,000), North Carolina (27,000), and Ohio (27,000).

Washington state supplanted New York with the largest overall reduction in members in 2020. The number of union workers in those states declined by 81,000 and 71,000, respectively. Significant drops also occurred in California (down 63,000), Missouri (down 59,000), and Colorado (down 55,000). Missouri experienced the largest drop in membership share (down 1.7 percentage points), followed by Colorado (down 1.6 percentage points), Washington (down 1.4 percentage points), South Dakota (1.3 percentage points), and Nevada (down 1.2 percentage points).

The greatest increase in the number of public sector union members was in Texas (up 67,000), while the largest decrease was in Florida (down 45,000). Annual changes in public sector membership rates ranged from an 11.4 percentage point increase in Connecticut to a 7.9 percentage point decrease in South Dakota. 

In the private sector, the biggest jump in the number of union members took place in Pennsylvania (up 27,000), while the largest drop occurred in New York (down 95,000). Maryland saw the biggest increase in its private sector unionization rate (up 1.7 percentage points), while Nevada saw the largest decline (down 2.0 percentage points). The situation in Nevada is especially striking, as the state had previously been held up as an example of how unions could flourish in spite of right-to-work legislation. 

Table 6: Union Membership Rate By State and Sector, 2019-2020
(percent of employees)
  All   Public Sector   Private Sector
  2019 2020 Change   2019 2020 Change   2019 2020 Change
Alabama 8.5 8.0 -0.5   19.0 20.9 2.0   6.5 5.4 -1.1
Alaska 17.1 17.7 0.6   39.8 41.1 1.3   8.4 9.5 1.1
Arizona 5.7 5.3 -0.4   20.2 19.3 -0.8   3.4 3.0 -0.5
Arkansas 5.2 4.7 -0.5   9.3 10.4 1.2   4.3 3.6 -0.7
California 15.2 16.2 1.0   52.6 51.7 -0.9   8.8 9.6 0.8
Colorado 9.0 7.4 -1.6   24.2 19.5 -4.7   6.0 5.0 -1.0
Connecticut 14.5 17.1 2.6   62.7 74.1 11.4   7.1 8.6 1.6
Delaware 8.7 9.7 1.0   34.8 38.2 3.4   4.4 4.5 0.1
District of Columbia 9.3 8.6 -0.7   20.5 18.0 -2.5   5.3 4.7 -0.6
Florida 6.2 6.4 0.2   26.5 24.8 -1.7   3.1 3.6 0.5
Georgia 4.1 4.6 0.5   9.1 14.1 5.0   3.2 3.0 -0.2
Hawaii 23.5 23.7 0.2   52.7 53.7 1.0   14.6 13.3 -1.3
Idaho 4.9 5.6 0.7   17.4 17.2 -0.3   3.0 3.5 0.5
Illinois 13.6 14.3 0.7   45.8 55.0 9.2   8.9 8.5 -0.4
Indiana 8.3 8.3 0.0   21.0 26.9 6.0   6.7 5.8 -0.9
Iowa 6.3 6.6 0.3   18.5 20.6 2.1   4.0 3.8 -0.2
Kansas 8.7 8.9 0.2   22.5 20.9 -1.7   5.6 6.4 0.8
Kentucky 8.0 7.5 -0.5   16.6 12.2 -4.4   6.7 6.5 -0.1
Louisiana 5.3 5.9 0.6   14.1 15.4 1.4   3.4 3.8 0.4
Maine 11.8 14.7 2.9   45.7 46.6 0.9   5.6 6.4 0.8
Maryland 11.3 13.1 1.8   33.5 33.5 0.1   4.6 6.3 1.7
Massachusetts 12.0 12.0 0.0   51.2 53.8 2.7   6.6 6.4 -0.2
Michigan 13.6 15.2 1.6   45.1 44.2 -0.9   9.8 11.1 1.3
Minnesota 13.7 15.8 2.1   53.7 61.5 7.8   7.4 7.5 0.1
Mississippi 6.3 7.1 0.8   16.2 16.5 0.3   4.1 5.2 1.1
Missouri 11.1 9.4 -1.7   28.1 27.8 -0.3   8.2 6.4 -1.8
Montana 10.5 12.0 1.5   34.5 38.2 3.7   5.3 5.6 0.3
Nebraska 8.4 9.6 1.2   28.0 35.1 7.1   4.6 4.6 0.0
Nevada 14.6 13.4 -1.2   32.9 34.8 1.9   11.6 9.6 -2.0
New Hampshire 10.3 9.8 -0.5   44.7 44.1 -0.6   5.2 4.3 -0.9
New Jersey 15.7 16.1 0.4   58.1 59.3 1.2   8.0 8.3 0.3
New Mexico 7.1 7.1 0.0   17.2 16.7 -0.5   3.6 3.7 0.0
New York 21.0 22.0 1.0   65.5 68.3 2.8   12.7 12.6 -0.1
North Carolina 2.3 3.1 0.8   8.5 11.1 2.6   1.2 1.8 0.7
North Dakota 6.0 6.2 0.2   19.1 18.1 -1.0   3.3 3.7 0.3
Ohio 11.9 13.2 1.3   42.4 45.5 3.1   6.9 7.1 0.2
Oklahoma 6.2 6.0 -0.2   20.4 15.4 -5.0   3.1 3.8 0.7
Oregon 14.4 16.2 1.8   53.2 52.3 -0.9   7.3 9.0 1.6
Pennsylvania 12.0 13.5 1.5   52.6 53.8 1.2   7.1 8.2 1.1
Rhode Island 17.4 17.8 0.4   62.3 67.2 4.9   10.0 9.9 0.0
South Carolina 2.2 2.9 0.7   7.4 8.2 0.8   1.3 1.9 0.6
South Dakota 5.6 4.3 -1.3   21.3 13.4 -7.9   2.6 2.7 0.1
Tennessee 4.6 4.4 -0.2   14.7 13.5 -1.2   2.9 2.8 0.0
Texas 4.0 4.9 0.9   14.2 17.2 3.0   2.5 2.7 0.2
Utah 4.4 3.7 -0.7   11.1 12.7 1.5   3.1 1.8 -1.3
Vermont 11.2 11.8 0.6   42.8 41.5 -1.3   5.3 5.5 0.2
Virginia 4.0 4.4 0.4   9.9 12.6 2.7   2.5 2.1 -0.4
Washington 18.8 17.4 -1.4   52.3 50.6 -1.7   12.0 10.3 -1.8
West Virginia 10.2 10.7 0.5   21.2 24.7 3.5   7.8 7.3 -0.5
Wisconsin 8.1 8.7 0.6   25.7 22.1 -3.6   5.1 6.5 1.3
Wyoming 7.3 7.6 0.3   13.6 14.1 0.5   5.1 5.1 0.0

Source: “All” category from Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021); public and private sector data from CEPR analysis of Current Population Survey Outgoing Rotation Group, 2019-2020. Some differences in columns three, six, and nine reflect rounding.

Table 7: Number of Union Members By State and Sector, 2019-2020
(thousands of employees)
  All   Public Sector   Private Sector
  2019 2020 Change   2019 2020 Change   2019 2020 Change
Alabama 173 151 -22   62 66 4   112 85 -27
Alaska 48 49 1   31 30 -2   17 20 3
Arizona 174 155 -19   84 80 -4   90 74 -16
Arkansas 62 55 -7   18 19 1   44 35 -9
California 2,504 2,441 -63   1,253 1,218 -35   1,247 1,221 -26
Colorado 237 182 -55   107 79 -28   132 104 -28
Connecticut 244 262 18   141 146 5   103 115 11
Delaware 38 41 3   21 26 5   16 16 0
District of Columbia 34 30 -4   19 18 -1   14 11 -3
Florida 551 524 -27   319 274 -45   233 252 19
Georgia 180 194 14   60 90 29   119 104 -15
Hawaii 135 120 -15   70 70 0   64 50 -14
Idaho 37 41 4   18 19 1   20 22 2
Illinois 771 739 -32   334 350 17   438 386 -52
Indiana 249 235 -14   71 90 18   178 145 -33
Iowa 97 93 -4   46 48 2   51 44 -7
Kansas 112 114 2   53 45 -7   58 68 10
Kentucky 144 127 -17   41 34 -6   102 92 -10
Louisiana 94 99 5   44 47 3   50 52 2
Maine 69 82 13   42 53 11   28 28 1
Maryland 330 351 21   226 226 0   103 126 23
Massachusetts 406 357 -49   209 188 -21   197 170 -28
Michigan 589 604 15   212 218 6   379 387 8
Minnesota 364 398 34   193 238 46   171 160 -10
Mississippi 70 74 4   33 30 -3   37 44 8
Missouri 297 238 -59   111 98 -13   185 139 -46
Montana 46 50 4   27 31 5   19 19 0
Nebraska 75 85 10   40 51 11   34 34 0
Nevada 201 161 -40   63 63 0   138 99 -39
New Hampshire 69 62 -7   39 38 -1   31 23 -7
New Jersey 642 600 -42   363 336 -27   279 262 -17
New Mexico 58 53 -5   36 33 -2   22 20 -2
New York 1,732 1,661 -71   849 874 25   883 789 -95
North Carolina 102 129 27   59 65 6   44 65 22
North Dakota 21 21 0   11 11 0   10 10 0
Ohio 610 637 27   305 347 42   305 288 -18
Oklahoma 96 90 -6   58 44 -13   39 46 7
Oregon 255 275 20   145 148 3   110 126 16
Pennsylvania 676 717 41   319 335 16   357 384 27
Rhode Island 83 81 -2   42 42 0   40 39 -1
South Carolina 47 59 12   24 27 3   23 32 9
South Dakota 22 17 -5   13 8 -6   9 9 0
Tennessee 135 117 -18   62 52 -10   72 65 -7
Texas 497 563 66   230 298 67   267 268 1
Utah 62 51 -11   25 31 5   36 21 -16
Vermont 33 31 -2   20 19 0   13 12 -1
Virginia 156 164 8   80 105 25   76 59 -17
Washington 638 557 -81   298 286 -12   339 271 -68
West Virginia 72 71 -1   26 31 5   45 40 -6
Wisconsin 218 227 9   99 84 -15   119 143 25
Wyoming 18 18 0   8 9 1   9 9 0

Source: “All” category from Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021); public and private sector data from CEPR analysis of Current Population Survey Outgoing Rotation Group, 2019-2020. Some differences in columns three, six, and nine reflect rounding.

Figure 8

Figure 9

Figure 10

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2021. “Union Members — 2020.” Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Labor Statistics. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/union2.pdf.

Economic Policy Institute. 2021. Current Population Survey Extracts, Version 1.0.13, https://microdata.epi.org.

Economic Policy Institute. 2018. “The concerted attack on public sector union workers is a coordinated effort financed by wealthy donors”. Washington DC: Economic Policy Institute. https://www.epi.org/press/the-concerted-attack-on-public-sector-union-workers-is-a-coordinated-effort-financed-by-wealthy-donors/.

Garcia, Ruben. 2018. “Nevada’s unions show how organized labor can flourish even after an adverse Supreme Court ruling”. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/nevadas-unions-show-how-organized-labor-can-flourish-even-after-an-adverse-supreme-court-ruling-99067.

Terrell, Kenneth. 2020. “Unemployment’s Toll on Older Workers Is Worst in Half a Century”. AARP. https://www.aarp.org/work/working-at-50-plus/info-2020/pandemic-unemployment-older-workers.html.



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